War is hard, not only on the brave men and women who left Australian shores to fight for freedom, but also for those they left behind. The sacrifices made by our war heroes were immense, but we should never forget their brides who waited patiently at home, sometimes for a lover who would never return.
To celebrate their memory, we’ve searched out 10 heart-warming wartime photos and a love letter that’s come straight from the trenches.
Agnes was an Australian girl writing to Olaf, who was English. The pair met when they visited their English relatives and were immediately drawn to each other. They started writing love letters in 1913 and had a long distance relationship. This letter was written from Agnes to Olaf on 21 April 1918.
There is only a strip of yellow sand between the lagoon & the sea & it looks like a gold bar on a field of blue, for you have to come to the beginning of the reed itself. Shall we have our lunch here among the sand hills – or shall we go out to the end first? It depends whether we feel hungry. Do you? ‘Yes, starving.’ So let’s boil the billy for tea & spread our little feast here in the shade. I wonder what we shall talk about. I shall never be able to believe it is really you – you! Olaf of the letters. Olaf of the waiting – my Olaf – my lover! Will your eyes be always watching me? & when they have looked at all the beautiful hills & trees & the sea & the sky, will the comeback & rest on me?…
What will be your fate? I promise not to ‘stare’ – I shall just open my eyes very wide & take you into my heart. Oh my dear, my darling! Just think of it!
Excerpt taken from Love Letters of the Great War by Mandy Kirkby